October 18, 2019 / 5:43 AM / a month ago

Food group Danone narrows 2019 sales growth goal despite strong Q3

PARIS, Oct 18 (Reuters) - French food group Danone said sales growth accelerated in the third quarter as baby food products sales in China extended their rebound with a rise of over 20%.

The third quarter performance, however, lagged market expectations and Danone narrowed its sales growth outlook for the 2019 full year while keeping its margin outlook intact.

Danone, which is the world’s largest yoghurt maker and has brands such as Actimel and Activia, said third-quarter sales reached 6.418 billion euros ($7.1 billion).

This marked a like-for-like rise of 3.0% that was below analysts’ expectations for 3.8% growth, but was nevertheless an acceleration from 2.5% growth in the second quarter. Danone is now targeting 2019 group like-for-like sales growth of 2.5%-3% against a previous forecast of around 3%.

It still expects an operating margin above 15% for 2019, putting it on track for its 2020 goals of an operating margin of above 16% and like-for-like sales growth of 4-5%.

$1 = 0.8990 euros Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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